Monday, September 15, 2008

Cost of Failure

an aerial view of the traffic lighted junction in Barkingside High StreetThe long running saga of highways “improvements” to Barkingside High Street is not yet over. One aspect not yet initiated is the widening of the carriageway in Fremantle Road outside Clinton Cards at the traffic lighted junction. [The road to the left in the aerial photograph]. This is to enable the central bollard and pedestrian refuge to be moved northwards such that the westbound carriageway in Fremantle Road is wider thereby easing the difficulties that buses have in turning left into that road from the High Street.

The reason that this part of the project has been delayed is that the underground services had to be moved. A short while ago the pavement was uplifted and the necessary works carried out, BUT it was all reinstated. Why couldn’t they just get on and complete the job?

We now have a brand new stainless steel lamppost adjacent to the kerb which is scheduled to be moved. Not only has the pavement to be dug up and removed again but this new lamppost will also have to be moved and no doubt the electricity supply to it.

Of course all these extra and unnecessary works entail financial transactions which in turn are included as, wait for it, “Value adds” in Gross Domestic Product [GDP] and all add to the illusion of “economic growth”.

It is a fundamental problem with our present economic system that treating the “cost of failure” in this way results in rewarding incompetence.
Is it too much for council tax payers to expect “value for money”?

UPDATE: It would appear that the two new lampposts are not yet connected to the electricity supply [they were not switched on last night]. Possibly due to the services having been moved earlier and the contractors not being able find the supply?


  1. Sorry this has nothing to do with the highways improvements of Barkingside, but it is connected with " Cost of Failure"
    At last, following complaints about the access at Elmscroft Ave, Wanstead to the Roding Valley Park, they ( the Council) have finnally got round to altering the the barriers there. Originally they were installed to keep out motorbikes. but unfortunately the barriers kept out many other users.
    including cyclists and the disabled who relied on wheelchairs
    to visit the park. Very sad as this is a designated Wheelchair Path accesss point.
    Well at great expense these barriers have now been removed and replaced with a different design.
    Oh dear! the new barriers stop anyone other than being SLIM getting in to the Park. I've tried it myself and JUST got through ,I'm just average weight for my height.
    There is absolutely no way anyone the slightest bit overweight can enter.
    I have been told that Wheelchair people cant get through either they get their head stuck in the barrier if they try. As for keeping motorcycles out, I dont think so. the gap looks suitable for them, but at least the cyclists may get through now.
    The 'Cost of Failure'! no wonder the council are looking to sell off the crown jewels. to raise money if they waste it like this. An official complaint was made at Area 1 this week.
    Ron King

  2. No problem, Ron. B21 is quite relaxed about off topic comments. We like to let things flow and see where they lead. It's exciting.

    I do believe that there are a couple of slim Area One Councillors who reside close by to this latest piece of “public art”, so they should be able to go have a look see quite easily, and from both sides.

    There is also another issue here. We now have a Parks Police who have, it seems, got the scrambler bike problem under control. Just goes to show that tackling the problem works but trying to prevent the problem doesn’t. Road humps anyone?

    How much has been wasted on them, when some extra targeted police officers would have pretty much solved the problem by now.

  3. So if the access at Elmcroft Avenue is as limiting as Ron says it is, then that means it will keep out the council's somewhat rotund Chief Leisure Officer, as well as at least half the cabinet members - and me!

  4. Area 2? Nope! Riverside Concern - well done Ron.
    Well at Area 1 I and another resident raised this question - but as you know B21, I am a somewhat of a 'building' myself - Is that back to the subject enuff. Having just been on one of my regular walks of our River Roding (mainly because the council is absent for too long a period down there) I attempted to exit at Elmcroft Gate to see if my two councillors were in (both modestly adequate in stature) Public art in a way I suppose too. Well I do have a problem healthwise and the only way I could get through that structure was to breathe Innnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn - and stand on tip-toes - my condition of health forced me to yell out in pain.
    That is how badly designed this gate is.
    I shall email you a pic this week - but the thing that comes to mind more than any of this is the ability of Redbridge Council to judge contractors, assess specifications, balance bills of quantities and check the progress of the contract, for structure efficiency, H&S issues, and cost effectiveness.
    I am so sorry Residents of Redbridge, Barkingside in this issue more so. But the officers at Redbridge judge Projects, specifications and all contracts on these criteria:
    1: will it get us an Award Notification (however false that is)
    2: does it comply with modern -rules - (so they can fob queries off on these grounds)
    3: does it have an end sum - a budget (so they can say to queries - there were problems with supply or necessary changes?)
    4: does it look smart (so it comes out well in the group pic?)
    5: Is it practical (well that always goes down well, and some category will surely be able to fit in with it)
    6: ability to decry criticism (for all products have a use somewhere - it does not matter if the seats in a local bus (for example) are kiddie size - even though the population of "customers" are elderly, maybe arthritic etc)
    7: the choice of contractor (well one in 50 contracts we will choose an untried contractor as a scapegoat hopefully, but in the main we will keep with our short list of contractors because they know even if we blast them on cost etc. they will always be there for us to help us spend our munny).
    B21 - I will not take up your space with the examples I have here - but that gateway is a small (large, small large) example, and of course The Ray Park visitors centre and St Mary's Complex in south Woodford and seven counts in the Barkingside "Experience" and Ilford Town Centre.
    This isn’t cynical - this is factual if you take into account all the over-run budgets the out-stretched deadlines of the projects undertaken with the blessing of Redbridge Council Planning and Contract dept. And of course the meadows and.....
    PS can we have a blog on Redbridge Policy problems soon please.
    Richard Cooper of Riverside Concern which covers and co-ordinates environmental problems in the borough of Redbridge with groups elsewhere.
    The link is (RSC takes to the Highways and the byeways. bridleways and footpaths)

  5. The Fremantle Road situation is a bloody disgrace, just like the rest of the traffic cockup in Barkingside, and now spreading to Ilford Town Centre and to Gants Hill. Where next?

    The Highways Section in Redbridge seems obsessed with spending money to bring traffic to a grinding halt money - money that we all pay unwillingly to TfL through our council tax.

    Somebody has got to learn to say no!